Dear Mom,

I was editing a story the other day, and one of the problems that kept popping up was the variety of nicknames the writer had given to the characters. The writer knew exactly which name and nicknames belonged to each character, but it was confusing for the reader.

I thought of our family, and I laughed.

You, Mary Elizabeth, were called Mary E. and Mary Ibbeth. When my brother David couldn’t say Marylin, he called me Mayno. Your brother, my Uncle Ira, called me Strawberry Roan and Red. My daughter, Molly Elizabeth (named for you) was called Pinkie Two Shoes, Mookie, and Punkin. Her children, your great-grandchldren, are nicknamed Grace-a-rooni and Ganno-banano, plus many other affectionate terms.

When Grace was born, I became Mor-Mor (Swedish for mother’s mother), and Molly wanted to call Jim Mor-Far (Swedish for mother’s father). Jim didn’t want that. He laughingly said that someone might add a -t to the end (Mor-Fart), and honestly, the name he’d most looked forward to was Grandpa. When the kids were little, because our dog Maggie is always at Grandpa’s side, they called them GrandpaMaggie. One happy, much-loved word.

In Shakespeare’s ROMEO AND JULIET, an ancient grudge separated two families, the Capulets and Montagues. It didn’t matter to Juliet what Romeo’s last name was: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose- By any other name would smell as sweet.”

Our family would agree with Juliet.

Whatever our nicknames for each other, we say them with love and deliver them with laughter, cuddles, hugs and great affection.

Love you lots, Mary Ibbeth/Mom/Grandma/Mor-Mor-Mor/Great-grandma!

From your daughter: Marylin/Mayno/Mom/Mor-mor

~ ~ ~


Your entries were creative, funny, poignant and wonderful. Thank you all.

The judges will receive their copies tonight and tomorrow morning.  

 Winners will be posted on this blog next Sunday, May 20th! 

(Below, the Hoover “kids”–left to right: Sam, Wanda, Ira, Mary Elizabeth, Ruth Lavonne)


Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, memories for grandchildren

13 responses to “…BY ANY OTHER NAME

  1. Nancy Parker Brummett

    Marilyn–Isn’t it true we collect a lot of labels as we move through life? Sort of like an old suitcase. This was a great reminder and so heartwarming as always.

    • Thanks, Nancy. When I read your blog on “mommie-isms” and recognized some of the same ones from my mother, it also reminded me of the many nicknames that evolve in families.

  2. Molly


    I think that this may be one of my favorite blog stories yet…..our family definitely does have a passion for nicknames……here are some that you forgot:

    Grandma – Dama
    You – Maynerd
    Grace – Monkey, Chicken
    Gannon – Bubba,
    Trevor – Big Daddy
    Me – Mook, Little Mol (although that one didn’t last too long)
    Solomon – Bear
    Cala – Quack
    Maggie – Moo
    Duchess – Duchy Whutchy Woo Woo Wooo
    Koda – Koda woda boda bear
    Munchkin – Trunchkin

    Thank you for this wonderful post…..I love it!!!!

    • Uh-huh, they do come flooding back, don’t they? And Dad wasn’t just Dad until he became Grandpa (NEVER Mor-far). Seems like I remember Daddy, Da-Da and, when you were playing tennis, Coach, or maybe that’s what I called him. It’s amazing that anyone in our family can remember our actual names… It’s good that we’re here to remind each other.

      • Molly

        Perhaps we fall back to the nicknames, since we all have such “close” names….Molly/Maggie/Marylin/Mary and then Grace and Gannon…….and on Dad’s side of the family: Debbie and Donna, Doug Sr., Doug Jr., Don…which just makes it sooo tricky to call out names…..nicknames help with that!

  3. Love it, Mor-Mor! Happy Mother’s Day to you!

  4. Grace

    hey Mor Far going camping WITH TREVOR

    • Jim

      I guess you mean Grandpa, GracieBeth! lol. And watch your typing, young lady. No “accidental” t’s if you know what I mean. Enjoy camping with your Dad. Great fun. Good memories. (Remember to take skeeter repellent, the first-aid kit, your new poncho, and your little brother–the banana piranha.)

  5. I like that photo of the Hoover kids by the pond that Grandpa Hoover built.

    • It’s one of my favorite pictures of the five of them. We had a print framed to hang on the wall for Mom, but someone knocked it off. This was the best I could do, but I think it shows the brothers and sisters and the pond pretty well. Our mothers were so young!

  6. It really is fun to stop and think about all the names we have. Perhaps it’s a reflection of all the many characters that reside within us.

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